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California seized enough fentanyl last year to kill entire world ‘nearly twice over’

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The California National Guard seized a record 62,224 pounds of fentanyl in California and the state’s ports of entry – enough of the potent synthetic opioid to kill the entire world population “nearly twice over.”

Since 2021, fentanyl seizures supported by CalGuard have increased by 1066%, according to the governor’s office.

“Fentanyl is a poison, and it does not belong in our communities,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “California is cracking down – increasing seizures, expanding access to substance abuse treatment, and holding drug traffickers accountable to combat the immeasurable harm opioids have caused our communities.”

The street value of the fentanyl seized was estimated at $649 million.

“The California National Guard is committed to combatting the scourge of fentanyl,” said Major General Matthew Beevers, adjutant general of the California National Guard. “These extraordinary seizure statistics are a direct reflection of the tireless efforts of the highly trained CalGuard Service Members supporting law enforcement agencies statewide.”

The amount of fentanyl seized in California in 2023 “is enough to potentially kill the global population nearly twice over,” state officials said. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, a lethal dose of fentanyl is 2 mg.

U.S. officials reported 107,735 overdose deaths between August 2021 and August 2022 from drug poisonings, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 66% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.